Security and safety issues in international markets

​I’ve recently had a discussion with one of our Mexican consultants about the security situation in Mexico, where violence between feuding drug gangs has received much international attention and press coverage.

This violence has now spilled over into Mexico’s third-largest, most industrial – and allegedly wealthiest city – Monterrey (population around 3.8 million). Many large international corporations have their HQs in Monterrey and the city has been the industrial hub of the country for many years. 

Reading between the lines

So how can a business deal with security issues like these? How easy or hard is it to judge whether events are over-reported and what the situation on the ground is really like? Do consumers in cities such as Monterrey stay indoors as they are too afraid to go out – as has been reported – or is this a press exaggeration? After all, good news stories rarely sell newspapers…

Such problems are not confined to emerging economies. Witness the recent riots in cities in the UK and similar troubles in Paris some years ago. I was working in Libya a few months ago, just before the revolution started there, and had meetings with several local food companies that impressed me. They had made considerable investments in their production facilities and were continuing to fund ambitious expansion plans, all of which has of course been lost as a result of six months of war.